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Pain after Falls or Car Accidents

If you have been involved in an accident and are suffering pain as a result it may be beneficial to get checked out by a chiropractor.

Your chiropractor will take a detailed history and perform a thorough examination. They will be able to recognise if there is a need for further assessment or imaging, to rule out any serious underlying issues such as a fracture.

Many accidents result in joint and muscle strains and sprains, damage to the ligaments and soft tissues, or misalignment of the joints. Occasionally there will be associated nerve involvement which might be experienced as tingling or pain that radiates into the arms or legs.

The pain may be nerve pain or it may be referred pain which means, it is not felt at the actual site of the injury. Your chiropractor will be able to diagnose the source of the problem after a thorough assessment that involves orthopaedic and neurological testing.

Chiropractic treatment involves joint manipulations and mobilisations, which work to realign the joints and restore normal function to them. We will also use soft tissue techniques such as massage, trigger point therapy and appropriate stretches to reduce muscle spasm.

Furthermore your chiropractor will advise you on specific exercises that you can do at home to aid your recovery, and give you tips to prevent further injury. This could be ergonomic advice for the car or workspace, advice on sleeping positions, or whether to apply heat or ice.

You may need continuing care over a period of weeks or months depending on the severity of the injury.

Your chiropractor will be able to give you an idea of the treatment plan at the initial assessment.

Trapped Nerve in the Neck

The medical terminology for this is Cervical Radiculopathy but most people refer to it as a pinched or trapped nerve in the neck.

This condition gives rise to severe and constant pain in the arm, often going all the way down to and affecting the hand. In most cases the arm pain is so strong that it is not even touched by painkillers. It’s often associated with tingling or pins and needles in the hand, numbness and even weakness of the shoulder, arm or hand.

These symptoms are not the same as those that come from ‘mechanical neck pain’ which by far is the most common form of neck problem diagnosed.

‘Mechanical neck pain’ usually starts in the neck and may spread to and include the upper back/shoulder and upper arm. It rarely extends below the elbow.

The two most common causes of Cervical Radiculopathy are disc herniation and Degeneration (aka wear and tear).

Cervical Disc herniation:

Tends to happen to people aged between 30-50 years but fortunately is not that common.

The intervertebral disc sits in the space between the bones which make up the spine. The disc normally acts as a shock absorber. It is made of two parts. The centre, called the nucleus pulposus, which is spongy and provides most of the shock absorption and the outer strong  ligament rings surrounding it, called the annulus fibrosus.

A disc herniation happens when there is a weakness or injury to the outer fibers allowing some of the spongy material to ‘run out’ causing pressure/irritation to the nerve root as it leaves the spine.

Cervical Degeneration (aka osteoarthritis)

As the spine ages, several changes happen to the bones and soft tissues. The disc loses its water content and may begin to collapse, causing the space between the vertebrae to narrow. This causes the space where the nerve exits the spine to become smaller and may lead to cervical radiculopathy or  spinal stenosis (trapped nerve).

A thorough history and examination will help in identifying the cause of the pain and the appropriate treatment for you.

Bursitis

Bursitis is a relatively common condition that can cause joint pain, swelling and tenderness. Bursa are fluid filled cushions located at points of friction, most commonly between a muscle or tendon, and bone. Their purpose is to provide protection to the joints and surrounding soft tissues, and to offer lubrication for the muscle or tendon to slide across the bone during activity.

Bursitis treatment

Bursitis is inflammation and swelling of the bursa and usually occurs at the shoulder, elbow, hip or knee, however it can occur anywhere in the body.

Bursa can become inflamed as a result of direct injury, or repetitive movements that over time lead to wear and tear.

The condition can also be a result of other inflammatory causes such as Rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.

With bursitis any movement that involves the affected bursa will be painful as the motion of the tendon and muscle across the bone irritates the inflamed bursa which tends to perpetuate the problem. The involved joint and surrounding muscles can then become tight and restricted.

The pain is usually worse during and after activity and commonly the joint will be achy and stiff the following day.

Bursitis commonly occurs in footballers and rugby  players as a result of collisions or injuries, and often to joiners, electricians, tilers and gardeners who have to spend a lot of time kneeling down.

Treatment of bursitis depends on the cause of it, but it often involves resting the affected joint, applying ice, and chiropractic care if suitable to relieve muscular tension, reduce inflammation, and restore normal joint function and biomechanics.

Back Pain

Back Pain is the most common condition that we treat. We treat back pain many times a day, every single day and all year around. Sometimes back pain is referred to as lumbago.

We are very experienced in diagnosing and treating conditions of the back and spine but we are  also able to identify if a referral to another specialist or if imaging like a scan is needed.

Back pain can be felt on one or both sides of the back. It can be across the shoulders, between the shoulder blades, in the small of the back or from the waist and into the buttocks and down the front or the back of the legs.

Acute and Chronic Back Pain

At times back pain is associated with other symptoms: pin and needles, tingling, numbness, leg pain ( often referred to as sciatica).

Most people will suffer from back pain at some point during their lives. It can be very painful and persistent and some people suffer repeated episodes.

It’s worth getting an assessment if the pain does not go away after a few days or if the condition starts to get worse.

Early treatment will help you get better faster.

Back pain may come on after a specific incident such as after a fall on ice, heavy lifting or bending awkwardly. Or it can develop gradually over weeks/months as a result of poor/wrong posture  or it may come on after a long period of stress and worry.

By far the most common type of back pain is ‘mechanical’ back pain. This means that the pain is coming from the spinal muscles, joints and ligaments. This is also referred to as musculo-skeletal back pain.

Although it can be extremely painful and make even small movements difficult, ‘mechanic’ back pain is not related to any serious underlying condition and there are no trapped or compressed nerves.

Simply put, the pain is from stiff or restricted spinal joints and tight spinal musculature. And Chiropractors treat this all the time…..and very successfully.

Less frequently, the nerves of the back can become irritated, trapped or compressed. There are many reasons as to why this would happen, but slipped discs or wear and tear can lead to pain running down the leg which is often referred to as sciatica. Sometimes this can be associated with pins and needles, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in leg and foot.

Back pain treatment involves gentle adjustments to the back, stretching and soft tissue techniques to free up the restricted/stiff joints and relax the surrounding muscles.

We may ask you to use heat or ice, to do some exercises at home and make changes to your lifestyle.

Our aim is to give you long-term relief.

Neck Pain

Mild to moderate pain in the neck is very common in the UK. With the amount of computer work, driving, texting and TV watching that most of us do, it is not surprising that neck pain is one of the conditions that chiropractors treat most often.

The majority of neck problems are brought on by the long-term effect of bad/wrong posture putting excessive strain on the joints and neck musculature. This can cause loss of proper joint movement in and muscle spasm.

Neck Pain

Chiropractic Care treats the underlying cause of the pain, not just the pain itself (like painkillers) by improving the mobility of the spinal joints in the neck and by reducing the muscle spasm.

At times the lack of joint movement can cause irritation to the nerves in the neck causing pain where the nerve ends. This is known as ‘referred’ pain and often gives rise to pain felt around the shoulder joint or even down the arm.

Referred pain to the back of the head or even behind the eyes is common with cervicogenic headache (headache arising from the neck) . This type of headache responds very well to chiropractic treatment of the neck joints and neck muscles.

When neck pain is the result of working at a computer, it is the prolonged holding of the head too high or low that causes the problem. Getting up and moving around multiple times during the day can help, as can raising your screen so the top of it is right at eye level.

We will always ask you detailed questions not only about your neck pain but also about your posture, previous medical history and lifestyle to find out and eliminate the cause of your neck pain.

Our aim is to find a long-term solution for your neck pain.

Osteoporosis. Can I still receive Chiropractic Care?

Osteoporosis happens when the amount of calcium in the bone (which gives them strength) is  low, leaving them weaker and more easily breakable. This is particularly common in women past the menopause or in people who have taken steroid medication for years.

Osteoporosis

Having osteoporosis does not necessarily mean that you cannot receive chiropractic care for problems such as neck and shoulder pain, back pain and arthritic pain. Your chiropractor will be able to modify treatment methods to cater for someone with osteoporosis and will also be able to advise patients on their posture, lifestyle and exercise pattern or where further tests might be necessary.

Knee Pain

Knee pain is very common and can be the result of a sudden injury, overuse, or by an underlying condition such as arthritis. The knee joint is susceptible to injury or wear and tear as it takes the full weight of the body plus any extra forces when you run or jump.

Knee Pain

Common causes of knee pain include: simple strains where the tissues are stretched but not permanently damaged; damage to the menisci, which are rubber pads within the joint that act like shock absorbers; and osteoarthritis, or wear and tear of the knee, this commonly affects older or overweight individuals, or those who have had a serious knee injury in the past.

Pain in the knee can also be referred from the lower back, or the hip joints. If there are problems in these areas it affects the biomechanics and movement of the lower limbs which can place more stress on the knee joint and result in pain.

Chiropractors can examine and treat all joints of the body including the knees. Treatment involves mobilisations to improve/restore movement and function to the joints and work on the soft tissues to reduce pain and inflammation. Your chiropractor will take a holistic approach and assess your posture in order to correct any other issues that might be contributing to your knee pain.

Hip Pain or Bursitis

There are many causes of hip pain. Pain in the hip can come directly from the hip joint itself or it may be experienced in the hip joint as a referred pain from a problem somewhere else. Your chiropractor will do an evaluation and history of your entire musculo-skeletal system to find out where the hip pain is coming from.

The hip joint is unique as it is a weight bearing joint. Weight is transferred through the spine into the pelvis and into each of the hip sockets. There can be an imbalance in the way the weight is distributed and several different joints  can cause the hip pain. Our first priority will be to examine you to establish where exactly the hip pain is coming from. We will evaluate the lumbar spine, the pelvic bones and the hip socket itself to understand what is affected and what needs to be corrected in order to resolve the symptoms.

Hip Pain or Bursitis
As chiropractors we pay particular attention to the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint which are weight bearing joints. Quite often people think that they have a hip problem or bursitis but in fact it is lumbar spine dysfunction or a sacroiliac sprain/strain injury causing pain that feels like it is coming from hip joint.

You can also have pain in the ball and socket of the hip itself. It can be caused by arthritis or other injuries to the cartilage within the joint.   Occasionally, at the very end stage of degeneration some patients may require a hip replacement, however we like to work with our patients way before a hip replacement is considered. In fact for those people the name of the game is to prolong or avoid the replacement for as long as possible.

Chiropractic is the perfect technique for helping people get out of or lessen the pain and help the degeneration. Chiropractic treatment if required involves a specific thrust applied to the spine in the lumbar area, the pelvis or to the hip itself to help restore a more normal alignment or movement of the pelvis, spine and/or hip, or we may choose to use effective non-force techniques, if that is required.

Other therapies we use include massage therapy, trigger point therapy or myofascial release and we may also want to get you started on some stretch and strengthening exercises for the area to help the body heal and function better.

It’s important to treat hip pain as early as possible as it really can affect your lifestyle. It can affect your ability to sit, sleep and walk comfortably Get yourself checked out and evaluated. It may turn out to be the best thing you ever did…..

I Have Osteoarthritis……should I just live with it?

NO! so much can be done……

For many,  many years Osteoarthritis (aka degenerative joint disease, spondylosis or wear & tear) has been considered a part of getting older. But not anymore……… Recent research points out that older people don’t have to suffer from osteoarthritic pain. And, surprisingly, people much younger than 65 can develop osteoarthritis.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA), or degenerative joint disease, affects the cartilage ie the slippery tissue on the ends of bones that meet in a joint. Normally, the cartilage helps bones glide over one another. In an OA patient, however, the cartilage is broken down, is irregular, no longer smooth and eventually wears away.

As a result, instead of gliding, bones rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and loss of motion.1  Although the majority of patients with OA are 65 and older, recent research shows that osteoarthritis is not a by-product of aging. Family history of OA, being overweight, lack of exercise, and prior joint injuries are suggested as OA risk factors.

How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?

OA is diagnosed through a combination of clinical history, patient examination and  x-rays.

The signs of OA include:

  • Steady or intermittent joint pain (most common: back pain, neck pain, hip and knee pain)
  • Joint stiffness after sitting, sleeping, or otherwise not moving for a long time
  • Swelling or tenderness in the joints
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bones rubbing against each other.

If you experience any of these signs, consult your chiropractor. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help manage pain, improve function, and slow the degeneration.

Should Osteoarthritis Patients Exercise?

Exercise is one of the best forms of OA treatment – and prevention. It strengthens the muscular support around the joints and improves and maintains joint mobility and function.

In addition, exercise helps control weight and improves the patient’s mood and outlook – important factors influencing the severity of the symptoms.

If you suffer from Osteoarthritis, consider the following exercise tips:

  • Low-impact or non-weight-bearing activities, such as walking, stationary training, and light weight training work best for OA patients.
  • Use strengthening exercises if the key muscle groups that relate to the function of the joints are weakened by the degeneration (We will assess this during the examination)
  • If you are overweight, start exercising carefully, so as not to put too much stress on the hip, knee and ankle joints. And lose weight.
  • Stair climbing, water aerobics, yoga, biking and similar exercises will help to keep the joints mobile without straining them.
  • Learn to read the body’s signals and know when to stop, slow down, or rest.

How Can Your Chiropractor Help?

Chiropractors, by the nature of their work, can detect the earliest degenerative changes in the joints. They see the impact of degenerative changes in the spine, as well as in the hips, knees, and other weight-bearing joints.

Chiropractors are also trained to relieve the pain and improve joint function through natural therapies, such as chiropractic manipulation, trigger-point therapy, stretching or some massage techniques.

We will also help you choose the exercises that are best for you and we may recommend supplements for your joints and general well-being.

If a sore or swollen joint prevents you from exercising, talk to us about other drug-free pain-relief options, such as applying heat or cold to the affected area.

Neck and Shoulder Tension

In most cases, neck and shoulder tension is nothing to be worried about. However, it can be very annoying and, in some cases, somewhat debilitating. The good news is that through chiropractic treatment and finding out what is causing your particular problem, you can get great relief.

Believe it or not, the rise of the computer age has also given rise to a simultaneous increase in neck and shoulder tension cases. It stands to reason when you consider how much time we spend staring at computer screens or playing with the mobile phone or tablet. Neck and shoulder tension in such cases is due to postural strain put on the neck and shoulder musculature due to the constantly looking down while restricting the movement of the arms and shoulders.

Another common cause of neck and shoulder tension is the weight put on the shoulders by handbags, laptop bags and the like. Even the backpacks used by schoolchildren can cause neck and shoulder tension if too heavy or not worn properly.

Neck and shoulder tension can from time to time give rise to Tension Headaches (Cervicogenic  Headaches) which is usually felt at the back of the head and behind the eyes. They tend to come on later in the day and are normally relieved by rest.

The key to alleviating the tension is get treatment to the affected area and then identify and stop doing what caused it in the first place!

We will do a full examination, a posture analysis and ask you lots of questions about your life style to help identity the cause of your discomfort. Having treatment to relax the muscles and realign the spine combined with adjusting your behaviour/lifestyle accordingly should solve the problem.

Lastly, getting enough relaxed sleep is another big help.

In any case, there is no reason for you to live with chronic neck and shoulder tension or putting up with tension headaches. The combination of chiropractic care and a change of behaviour/lifestyle can help give you long term relief.

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